New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday said it has attached seven immovable assets of Uttar Pradesh gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari as part of a money laundering investigation against him and his family.
The properties, provisionally attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), are worth Rs 1.48 crore (registry value) while their circle rate at the time of registration was Rs 3.42 crore, the federal agency said in a statement.
Ansari, a five-time former MLA, is currently lodged in a prison in Banda, Uttar Pradesh. The 59-year-old was questioned by the ED in this case last year.
The agency had in August also raided the official residence of his elder brother and BSP MP Afzal Ansari in Delhi and some locations in Ghazipur, Mohammadabad (in Ghazipur district), Mau and state capital Lucknow.
The money laundering case against Mukhtar Ansari stems from multiple FIRs lodged by the Uttar Pradesh Police apart from two more FIRs lodged against a company called Vikas Constructions (a partnership firm) that was run by his wife, two brothers-in-law and other people.
The ED has alleged that the company was used for constructing godowns on public and government land after “encroaching” on them.
“The godowns were constructed in Mau and Ghazipur districts of Uttar Pradesh. Vikas Construction was being run by Afshan Ansari (wife of Mukhtar Ansari) and her two brothers Atif Raza and Anwar Shahzad, a person identified as Ravindra Narayan Singh, and Zakir Hussain,” the ED said.
“Uttar Pradesh Police has filed a charge sheet in one of the FIRs registered at Mau in which all the partners of the firm (Vikas Construction) have been named as accused,” it said.
The probe found, as per the agency, that rent of Rs 15 crore was collected by Vikas Construction from the Food Corporation of India by renting out godowns “illegally” constructed by encroaching public/government land at Mau and Ghazipur districts.
“This rent was further used to purchase immovable properties in the name of Vikas Construction and Afshan Ansari. Further investigation to trace out the remaining process of crime is under progress,” the ED said.
Mukhtar Ansari is under the ED scanner in connection with at least 49 criminal cases booked against him, including those on charges of land grabbing, murder and extortion.
He faces trials in Uttar Pradesh in several cases, including attempt to murder and murder. The Ghazipur district administration had seized two plots of land, measuring 1.901 hectares and valued at over Rs 6 crore, that were purchased using alleged illegal earnings of Mukhtar Ansari, according to the police.
In July, the Uttar Pradesh Police attached Afzal Ansari’s assets worth Rs 14.90 crore under the Gangster Act.